Archive for » January, 2014 «

PTSD and Promises made…

I have had several things come to me about “promises to change”, not changing, then one with PTSD saying they are sorry. So wanted to address this to bring a little more understanding…

This is VERY common with PTSD! They feel bad, sorry for something they did or did not do, the way they acted, for the things they said, etc. They are being very honest when they say they will change, they honestly and truly want to. But see, there is one issue here, they have PTSD! Changes by ALL means can happen, Craig’s managed it, but it’s a constant effort every day to keep things better. It’s not going to happen over night, it is continuous work and does not come naturally like it would to one without PTSD. We say we are going to do something, then we do it, one with PTSD, many times, does not have that easy option.

PTSD is a mental disorder, the brain is effected, in many cases the memory is effected, then add in all of the other symptoms, and those play a huge role in promises made and if they are able to be kept or not. When PTSD has an episode and symptoms arise, their brain focuses on what happened to them, how to survive that moment, not on promises they made or changes they said they would do. They can’t help that. It takes a lot of coping skills, reminders in a nice way, positive communication, and working daily to manage PTSD in order for changes to happen, and even then there are going to be times that they backslide and have to start over or try something different in order to manage and cope.

It’s by no means excusing whatever has happened, but you have to have an understanding to why, so you are not taking everything so personally. With PTSD being a part of life, if everything is taken personally when something is not perfect or the way you believe life should be, there’s going to be a lot of pain, anger, resentment, and heartache involved which will cause you to start acting or speaking the same way PTSD spoke or acted towards you. You will have a very difficult time moving forward and finding solutions or things to help if that happens. It’s a vicious cycle that has to be broken.

There will be a lot of trial and error trying to find what works best for you and your partner, but there are things that can help!

My favorite with Craig having severe memory issues are notes. I have him write notes to himself and sign them. This is how he came to understand he has memory issues, think about it, if there are memory issues how are they going to know? They aren’t, they honestly don’t remember. This especially happens when anxiety is at high levels. The notes are how he can remind himself (with my help) during bad spells that he can indeed trust me and what I say, it’s how he can be reminded of words or actions that he himself wants to work on improving… and the list goes on. I take the notes and literally lock them away. When a time/episode arises and a note is the last resort to helping a situation, then I pull the one that fits out and nicely ask him to read it. There’s no arguing, no fighting, and I don’t take what has happened personally. I put my strength into helping him through whatever the episode is at hand. Those letters are his words, his writing, and his signature… which means it’s a way for him to recognize something he noticed in himself before and might be something to realize is indeed happening at that moment. (Just NEVER misuse letters or use them to or for a personal advantage or they won’t work for long.)

We also have a saying, “I will work on that”. This normally comes at the end of a conversation, communication! When this is said it means an issue or problem is being heard, no promises are made so there’s no hurt from a broken promise later. It’s a simple acknowledgement of what has happened, been discussed, and saying effort will be put into working to make changes or learn to cope better. The hardest part of this one is you have to accept one is going to try and there is no set outcome or resolution at that moment. You also need to understand that many times they are going to need your help, patience, and understanding in order for them to work on things. You can’t throw in their face “you said this or that”, your hurt and anger can not out weigh helping them or encouraging them to try and learn new ways to cope. Guilt can be deadly, you do not want to allow it the chance to come into play.

Those are just a few simple examples of how we manage and have learned to cope with things. That old saying “promises are made to be broken”, well add PTSD to the mix and that saying becomes very real life. We no longer make promises, we agree to find solutions or ways to cope that work without all of the emotional pain promises can bring. Then there are not expectations on him and no broken promises towards me, or vise-versa. We work together and communicate, true communication and listen to each other no matter how serious or hurtful something might sound or feel, we are honest with each other, then we work together to resolve whatever is at hand. It works!

Life has PTSD as part of it now. Things have changed and normal is a different normal now, so with that you have to think outside of the box on how to make things better and work through things. Once you learn how to, it becomes a new normal to life and makes things so much easier. Trial and error, there will be a lot of it, but it’s worth trying. 😉

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

PTSD vs Society

PTSD vs Society

This was something that was mentioned a few days ago and I wanted to write more about. I’m actually glad it took me a few days to write because yesterday I got an eye opener to another part of this as well and realized there is much more to this topic that needs to be discussed.

The comments were made…

I wish society understood” and
It’s hard when you aren’t in a military area“.

Both VERY honest statements!

You know, I have found that the only way for society to somewhat understand is to be taught. Even though one is not going to totally understand unless they experience PTSD or live with one who has it, they can still learn the basics of it, or any other mental illness. It’s not going to happen over night, there will still be those that refuse to learn or listen, but I have to say I personally have seen changes over the past few years that are positive.

People by nature are curious. I mean think about it, just for an example… you are in a check out line and the clerk talks to you as they are ringing your items through… “Oh what age is your child“, “I heard the weather is changing again“, “I love this product too“, “So what do you do for work?” Whatever they talk about, somewhere in there the door will open to educate.

How about when the one with PTSD is with you out somewhere? They might stand back away from others, be looking around a lot, quiet… As you are checking out you notice the cashier is glancing at them off and on, BINGO! Your door just opened! “Oh it’s okay, his (my) PTSD is just causing him (me) to be a little more alert today.” When you act like it’s not a huge deal, just a part of life, and calmly toss it into conversation, you might be shocked how one’s curiosity takes over and they start asking questions! By your calm response you just took the awkwardness out of the equation of their curiosity and opened the door to educate.

I personally go to pretty much the same stores for shopping or take out. People get to know you. Every single one has opened the door for conversation. You know what I hear now? “Hey, how’s your husband doing?“, “I haven’t seen your husband in awhile, you need to tell him to come in with you and see us.“, “Tell Craig we said hi and miss seeing him.” Once in awhile Craig will venture out for a quick trip with me, when he does people greet him with a smile, ask him how he’s been doing. And they always ask new questions! They don’t treat him differently, don’t treat him like he has the plague, they treat him like they indeed care.

Curiosity is there and over time I have used it to educate without people even realizing it. They don’t carry stigma or judge, and if they did it’s not there now. I had one lady tell me she was so happy I had talked to her about PTSD, because she met someone else that also has it and they are now friends! She said she doesn’t know as much as I do, but it was enough that the term PTSD did not bother her.

I went last week to our local BBQ place for takeout. First thing I heard was, “How’s your husband doing? We haven’t seen you in several months and were concerned about you all.” Stigma is fading and people are caring. And their curiosity causes them to want to learn more.

It’s not about preaching, or lectures, it’s just about being human and sharing small parts of your life. Many times you might be shocked when one says “Really? I have a friend/family member that also has PTSD.” And you can see the almost excitement of them hearing that someone else understands and knows what PTSD is. You just made them realize they are not alone!

I have to be honest with my personal opinion on the military areas. I personally think us not being in a military area has been easier. There’s not, or as much, stigma already placed on PTSD. It’s not a secret that there is stigma with the military, why? Because PTSD can in many cases effect a serious, life or death situation, job. That is pretty much the bottom line for it. That part of stigma is not in civilian society. So to me, it’s been easier for us. I do dearly miss being around military families and the bonds formed, I will never say that is not so. Civilian life is different then military life, but when it comes to PTSD, it just seems easier. Again, people are curious because it’s not something they may hear about every day, or they only hear what is reported and want to learn more from firsthand experiences and opinions of what life with PTSD is like.

Now, I want to talk about something else that really got brought to my attention yesterday regarding society and mental illnesses. I was watching a program and have to admit I was in total shock! It was talking about lack of room for ones with mental illnesses in facilities, which is an honest fact. Now, I will say up front rather quickly, I understand if attempted suicide is involved or situations where one has to be in a facility, so by no means dismissing that. But I heard SO much more in this program. It was like the whole society focus of placing someone in a facility was the only option! There was not any talk about what they try at home, outpatient treatment, therapy, etc. It was all about why there are not more beds available. Personally, that bothered me! I understand the reason for the focus, but it still bothered me.

We are not living in a society like it was 50 years ago or so, where if you had a mental illness you were just locked away! There are SO many things now that help with mental illnesses that people are able to live a somewhat normal life, be out in public, have jobs, be with family, there are medications that help, all sorts of therapy, etc. That program and what was being said made me feel like I was listening to people from decades ago! How UNFAIR! I happened to be sitting with a group of veterans during the program and know I was not the only one thinking this way, I heard a sarcastic comment, “sure just lock everyone up, great solution”. As we watched, we could see the lack of education regarding the illness at hand as well as lack of how to manage it. It was honestly sad. Sure, one may have to have inpatient care, maybe some guidelines need to change for safety reasons of length of stays, and more beds are indeed needed, but that does not always mean a person has to stay there forever!

To listen to one say that they fear a child becoming an adult and there not being laws to where a family member can place them in a facility unless they harm themselves or someone else… I’m sorry, but that bothered me. Why would anyone want them placed in a facility and take away the chance of them living as close to a normal life as they can? In cases where others do need help managing their medical, and cases where the need is there to prevent one from getting to the point of harming themselves or others, why not put legal documentation or guardianship of sorts into place for possible what if times? Wouldn’t that be an easy solution but at the same time allow the person with a mental illness a chance to see what they can do on their own? My personal opinion, it goes back to education and management at home. It’s okay to have the fear of the what if’s, the concern is an honest concern and not dismissed by any means, but you should not let your what if’s run someone else’s life, it’s just not fair to the individual. Goes back to my saying, have a plan and a back up plan, there is no law needed for that.

To say the least this is a subject that I could write about forever, but just a few points I wanted to share.

Society has come a long way from the way it use to be. I am seeing many positive things, even though there is still a lot of work to be done. And the more things reported (rather good or bad) leads to more doors opening for real education. That program yesterday was a prime example, there was a huge conversation which came from it. I see the positive that has happened in our life with our community, negative reports and such have not changed that at all, except at times it brings new conversations with people asking more questions and wanting to learn more from someone that is real life standing in front of them. 😉 That’s not a bad thing.

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

Medication Bag and To Go Bag

Medication Bag and To Go Bag

I had a few questions yesterday regarding our to go bag and medication bag so let’s talk about those…

I do have a separate medication bag for Craig. This bag goes where ever he goes. It is a very small backpack style bag which contains his medication bottles (many areas require the actual prescription bottles to be present to prove they are legal medications). The smaller backpack is easy to carry with being the style it is, not too big but not too small. It is also small enough that if we have our to go bag it will fit inside that bag as well if we choose to do so. The photo has a few bottles by it so you have an idea of the size.

This bag also contains a flash-drive with a copy of medical records on it. This is handy for doctors or if seen by doctors that are not up to date on your medical case. In times of emergencies you may not recall everything that needs to be known so this provides that information without having to carry a stack (or truck load haha) of papers with you.

At home, the medication bag is locked in a safe so there is no chance of others or animals getting into the medications OR an accidental overdose happening due to memory issues, the medications are closely monitored. NEVER leave this bag in your vehicle!

The to go bag, which we “normally” 😉 keep in the car, contains a full set of clothing for each of us, extra socks, flip-flops or slippers, night clothing/pj’s, an extra sweatshirt or light weight jacket, personal items such as toothbrush/paste, deodorant, brush/comb, hair band for me, large zip-loc bags (great to use if you are sick to your stomach because you can zip them shut when done and no mess in the car), a hand towel and body wet wipes, and a deck of cards.

Having these two bags ready to go makes life so much easier rather it is for a daily outing, last minute decision to take a trip, or in case of an emergency.

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

PTSD and Hospital Stays

PTSD and Hospital Stays

After a weekend in the hospital, Craig’s first by the way (severe migraine and chest pains), I wanted to go over a lot that I found VERY helpful to make a stay easier for the one with PTSD, the partner, and the staff. Just to state this upfront, Craig does not mind me sharing this!

The ER was trying, with chest pains that meant a lot of people at one time around Craig in a rushed fashion, which sent his PTSD into overdrive, but the staff did what they had to do in his best interest. This was the first time I was not allowed back, and understandable with the fact they did not know if he was crashing or not, but there was a lot of work with his PTSD once they did take me back to him. One doc was asking questions about his deployments (regions he had been), exposures, and trauma time frame which sent Craig into an uncontrollable body tremor. I told the doc nicely he had to stop with the questions and I would help answer anything he needed away from Craig. Which was agreed to. Then I was able to ground Craig.

Once admitted to the hospital the staff were awesome! Craig told each person up front that he has PTSD and not to touch him without making sure he knew what was coming. This was a huge help to the staff and for him!

The first nurse placed a note on the door for no one to enter the room without checking with the nurse station. This helped with preventing being startled by someone in the room without him knowing. Or being touched while he was sleeping.

The staff would knock on the door before entering, call out to me/us and wait for a “come in”. By this point I could be next to Craig or have him grounded to make sure he understood someone was coming into the room.

Craig was pretty much sedated for a long time period to allow his anxiety to lessen and give his heart a break, so during this time there was a lot of grounding so the staff could work on him, take blood, give medications, etc. He was out of it, so PTSD defenses pretty much ran the show. The staff worked great with me during this and I would tell them what needed to be done to prevent a PTSD lash out, safety at hand, and get him awake enough and grounded so they could touch him safely and do their jobs.

The staff followed my lead to how to handle his PTSD and approach him. Everyone stayed safe and no restraints were ever needed! 

If in the hospital and someone needs to enter without extra help or another person being there, have the staff talk from the doorway until the one with PTSD understands they are there and entering. Also ask them to state their name, what they are (a nurse, doctor, picking up the trash, etc) and where you are (in the hospital). This helps with grounding when unknown if the one with PTSD is grounded or not. Once closer, have them state “I’m going to touch your arm (or whichever body part) and this is what I will be doing…” This helps keep PTSD calmer, no surprises, and allows the staff to do their job to help you.

If someone enters to remove or bring something to the room, same as above goes, but let them know to put a little distance, personal space, between them and the patient unless the patient is awake fully and talking to them. This helps prevent/with unexpected triggers as well as helps maintain safety.

If you are the partner, know upfront that the staff is not there for you or your needs, however if you are being of assistance they at times will go above and beyond their duties. (Hope I’m not telling on anyone here lol). If you need to leave the room, let them know you will be leaving, they should already have a phone number to reach you, but make sure they do, let them know where you are going and when you expect to be back. Doing this helps in case your PTSD partner does not recall where you went or was sleeping when you left, and the staff can inform them. It helps keep them from thinking you are not there for them. With as much as Craig needed me, the staff (cough, cough… loved them!) did go above and beyond and made sure I had everything I needed so I could remain in the room and help keep him grounded.

Partners! You HAVE to make sure you are taking care of yourself through their hospital stay!!! Make sure you eat, drink plenty, sleep, and take breaks from the room when needed! Do not allow yourself to become run down during this time or you will have a hard time being able to or having the energy to care for them once they come home.

Also, most hospitals do have a Chaplain there or within reach 24/7 for you! We had one stop by the room to check on us and to see if I needed anything with me staying to help with Craig’s PTSD. Okay, I bragged about you all! My extended “family”. 😉 I was asked if I had my own support and I had to say absolutely, thousands! We had a long talk about my page and support group, how life is with PTSD, the book I am writing in hopes to help others, Craig and my story and life, and that our families are just a phone call away and will be there if we need them (Craig didn’t want them up there, so they stayed on the phone with me throughout the weekend). Craig was sleeping while he was there, so he and I sat and talked for quite some time. (And he wants me to stop by and see him with a copy of my book when it is published which I will defiantly do!) So just know up front, Chaplains are not just there to preach to you, they are there to help you anyway possible and you can go to them or ask if they can come to your room at any time. The Chaplain is your go to person there for you!

To go bag. Okay I had an epic fail on this one lol. I always have one ready and in the car, but had cleaned out the car this past week and forgot to put it back in! I grabbed Craig’s meds bag and forgot the to go bag was not in the car! Make sure you keep a bag IN your car just in case you are rushing out the door and have to stay at the hospital. Add a change of clothes for both of you, personal items needed, an extra phone charger!, something for you to do or a book to read while there, and just in case you have to go to a hospital closer or one that does not know your medical history, I have found it’s good to keep a copy of all medical records on a flashdrive to help new doctors out, etc. This will make the stay a little more comfortable and information needed at hand. 😉

So these are just a few of the many things that can help everyone when it comes to those emergency ER trips and/or hospital stays.

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

PTSD and Movies

PTSD and Movies

With some of the new movies out, I have heard many debates and have had a lot of questions come to me about mixing PTSD with certain movies. It is in reality something very real and also something to think about on many different levels, good and bad. 

Again as I always say, I’m not a doctor or in any medical field, just a spouse  So the information I provide is coming from personal experience, from other’s experiences, and/or through research.

Majority of people love watching a good movie! Movies bring together or family time, help get your mind off of other things for the moment, bring a different sense of fantasy or reality, they might be a way to get one out of the house… if they can manage movie theaters, they even in their own way help exercise the brain.

Craig is actually a huge at home movie buff. Which he never was before PTSD. Movie theaters are not a place he can manage. But with PTSD and the different symptoms it does bring, we have to be picky about which movies are watched depending on the symptoms present at that time. Some days he can watch a movie that might not have been an option yesterday, some movies he has to completely avoid, then with others that he really wants to watch but we know might trigger him, we have found ways to be able to manage PTSD but still watch them, just different from “normal” movie watching.

So it really boils down to what you put into place, your coping skills, and being honest with yourself if that movie is something you can or can not handle based on what you know about the movie. Sure, there might be that surprise in some movies you were not ready for or expecting, but knowing how to manage it if that happens can help.

But let’s go a little deeper. Why would one with PTSD push to see a movie that they and/or others know will most likely trigger their PTSD?

In a way, the best comparison I can relate this to… Why would a woman want to watch a “girly” movie that she knows is going to make her cry? 

It fills a void or pushes an emotion. A situation, feeling, or an emotion that one actually longs for OR feels the need to experience.

There could be many different reasons for this, rather one realizes it or not. The most common seems to be they are missing a part of their life that that movie reminds them of. The movie let’s them for a brief period be back in that time period, experience the feelings of the rush, what they loved to do (especially if job related), or something that they themselves have experienced… it gives them a sense of normal and something they can relate to. Other times, it may just simply be a way of fitting in and feeling normal, being able to talk with others about a popular movie.

I have noticed over the years that movie watching is extremely common for those with PTSD. It does make sense, think about all of the PTSD symptoms, then how movies trigger or even help process those symptoms.

Anger and/or Frustration.
(Hypervigilance or Hyperarousal)

Have you ever noticed that when there is anger, frustration, high alert coming from PTSD, which movies a person wants to watch? A high power military movie, a boxing movie, a high speed chase, bad guys good guys shoot-out, mystery, spy movie… a thriller.
The rush!

In a way it can be coping with the anger, frustration, high sense of being on alert mentally without it coming out on others. BUT at the same time when those feelings are experienced you have to make sure they do not escalate to the point they roll over to real life more then normal once the movie ends.

Depression, Sense of Sadness, or Loss.

These seem to bring about the want to watch movies that are sad or have a not so happy ending, a relationship that did not work out, movies where one of the key actors died. These movies experience the alone feeling, the sense of loss, the feeling of “normal” to experience things that might not be such good positive feelings or emotions. Many times they allow you to cry or push you to experience the emotion.

Inability to relate to others.

Ever see a “manly man” want to watch a romance movie when it was something he would never have watched before? Yep ladies, he’s doing it for you! To understand you, get a sense of your needs or wants. PTSD brings numbness. It goes back to what I have said before “motions lead to emotions”, those romance movies give a sort of guideline to help with the numbness. 

What about movies that have an actor with a disability? These movies bring a sense of normal to the disability and relation that others are experiencing the same or commonly related things.

Reliving the trauma.

One of the main things of PTSD. Many wonder why someone would want to watch a movie that has a similar experience to their own trauma… what happened to them. My guess, most of the above. It brings a sort of exposure, facing it head on in a different way that seems “safe”, come on, it’s just a movie so that in a way makes sense. With all of the symptoms PTSD brings, some handle it in different ways and that movie may bring the face to face to battle all of those feels and emotions, a way to say “I’m stronger then you are PTSD”.

Okay, so there are a few examples of how movies play a role with PTSD. But now, what can you do when it comes to movies being watched, and the good or bad that can come with them?

* Know your limits.

Don’t push too hard to watch a movie that you know for a fact is going to send you into a flashback or be highly triggered beyond your coping ability.

* Pace your watching.

If you are watching movies at home and find yourself not coping well, step away from the movie or hit the pause button! It is okay to pause a movie, do your coping skills, then return to it.

* Listen to others.

If you are watching a movie and are having negative effects from it, listen to what others are telling you. Now to the “others”, don’t limit watching on the “what if’s”, if one feels they will be okay or can manage watching a movie they want to see, let them try! Have your coping skills and how to handle triggers ready for that just in case, but don’t over react.

* Retreat.

If you are able to go out of the house to watch a movie, but the movie becomes too much for you, it’s okay to retreat to a bathroom or in the lobby away from others. Gather yourself, then return if possible. If you can’t, don’t feel guilty about it! YOU made the effort to go, you tried, and that is an achievement! You can always try again another time or watch a different type of movie next time! Don’t look down on yourself if you can not finish watching a movie.

* Use your coping skills.

If you see you are drawn to a certain movie, think about why and if you are coping correctly with your symptoms. Does not mean you can’t watch the movie, but knowing the why or what you are feeling can help. Use your coping skills! They can make your movie watching experience a good one.

* Reverse psychology.

HA!  This one can actually help with symptoms, and I have personally seen this work. If you find yourself drawn to one type of movie and recognize why, such as anger, try watching a movie that brings different meanings or feelings, in a positive way. This can help lessen negative feelings and bring a sense of positive things.

As always, these are just a few examples of many. Whatever the reason or the “why” behind watching certain types of movies, or a simple love for watching them, maybe this will bring a little more understanding when it comes to PTSD.

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

“Coffee in hand and getting this day going”

 

“Coffee in hand and getting this day going”

I was asked why I mention my “coffee in hand” every morning lol, so here’s the story…

Blame my dad! LOL 🙂 Okay, I fess, I’m a daddy’s girl and proud of it! My dad was already out of the military when I was born, he worked construction my entire life until he retired a few years ago. So he was up really early every morning when everyone else was sleeping (except mom who got up to make his coffee). If I wanted to see him before he left for work I had to be up early. There was always a pot of coffee made for him, for him to take to work, and a cup in his hand. He and I would sit at the kitchen bar/counter and he had his coffee while we talked.

I can not tell you at what age I drank my first cup of coffee with him, but it was at a young age. It became our thing every morning to sit and talk with our cup of coffee. It always made me happy, made me feel like I had a good start to every day and great conversation.

A neighbor who was like a Grandmother to me, actually bought me my own coffee cup for my 13th birthday! (Yes, the same cup in the photo I still have and use today!)

People thought it was funny, cute actually, that dad and I had coffee together. But it was SO much more then just drinking coffee. It was quality dad and daughter time, just the two of us talking with that hot cup of coffee in hand.

To this day every time dad and I see each other one of us will ask, “Do you want a cup of coffee?” 😉

So every morning when I say “coffee in hand and getting this day going”, there is a lot of meaning behind it, a lot from the heart of good memories. I am passing on a great tradition of starting each new day on a good foot, with good conversation, with a smile… and of course, coffee in hand. 😉

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

Alcohol and PTSD

Alcohol and PTSD

I am getting quite a few messages about alcohol so let’s talk about this a little further and maybe you all can give some input to things you have done to help heal from what alcohol can cause and/or how you personally manage it.

Note: Have to throw my blurb in here… I am not a doctor or in any medical field, I’m just a spouse and the information I bring is from our personal experiences, from what I have learned from others, and/or my research.

Okay, majority of us here are adults, and that nice cold drink is something that is liked occasionally. And to say this upfront, I am not going to judge anyone if they drink, again we are for the most part adults here.

But what happens when alcohol starts to or has taken over your life?

Alcoholism is very real. And when it comes to PTSD also being in the mix, it can cause a lot of damage to one personally and/or to the family, friends, your job, etc. It becomes a way to cope with symptoms, and can actually cause PTSD symptoms to increase or become out of control. Anyone who has ever drank, knows that you act different when you drink! You might get funny, do things that are just not the true you, do things that may be embarrassing, some get very mean or abusive, and you might think it lets you cope with things… each person responds differently. Some people will limit their drinking but drink to “take the edge off”, some others form a “drunk stupor” state, but yet others can become verbally or physically violent.

Alcohol can become one of those quick legal fixes for right then and now with PTSD. But you know where I’m going with this. That quick fix is not going to help much long term and the alcohol intake in all honesty will start weighing heavily on you, your physical body, as well as what it can do to those around you.

With all of the things that can come from alcohol, do you know what one of the largest is? It causes one to avoid real coping skills. It brings extra avoidance, when PTSD already comes with avoidance. When that drink wears off, symptoms are right back to where they were before you took that drink, which causes you to want another. It becomes that vicious circle.

It’s by no means my place to tell anyone not to drink, and I won’t! But there are things you can do to make sure alcohol does not take over your life or ruin it.

I am hearing of many cases where alcohol seems to bring out the anger and frustration of PTSD. My friends, this is not good! I am hearing spouse’s say they are against a block wall of wanting to be there for the one they love but at the same time the results of the alcohol and PTSD mixture is causing them to fear not only for their loved one, but for themselves, and some fear for their children/grandchildren. It’s gone beyond a social drink and turned into fear for their lives or having to make life changing choices they do not want to have to make. When it comes to this, is that second or third drink really worth it? I know each and every one of you have love in your hearts, I know no one wants to hurt those around them, I also know what PTSD does and causes all around. Isn’t it time to take a look at the big picture?

PTSD already gives you enough to manage through each day, and life with PTSD can honestly be there even though it is different from what people view as a normal life. Don’t give up on yourself or those who care about you. There are so many different ways to learn how to cope with symptoms now, there are ways for families to be families, and there are ways to live without adding extra damage to your life with over use of alcohol. I know it’s not easy to step away from or limit that bottle, I have seen people go through it, but we are here to re-learn how to live life with PTSD.

Things to think about:

* Recognizing and facing what alcohol may be doing to you and your loved ones is a good starting point.

* Listen to others. 

If drinking is effecting them also, they will say something, take their words to heart.

* Get Help! 

There are so many professionals and things available for alcohol and PTSD these days, look to see what is available in your local area.

* Learn coping skills!!! 

I can not say this one enough! I have personally seen how much coping skills can help! When you learn and use coping skills on a regular basis, that urge and need for that drink can lessen. Many do start realizing that extra drink is not needed to mask PTSD symptoms.

* Step away from the bottle or set limits… and follow them!

You know, PTSD brings a lot already, but there are so many things that can help! Life is precious, each and every single one of you are very important. If you are one that turns to alcohol as a form of coping, please do something for yourself to help, you ARE important! And I know no one means to harm another person verbally or physically, please do not allow alcohol mixed with PTSD lead you down that path.

Please do not allow alcohol to make matters and life worse for you and/or your family!

With much strength for you, heart, and love…

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

A very special note from Brett…

“U are an amazing lady n your husband n friends n family n all the millions of people on the net u help would be so proud of your courage n care n foresight. U have helped me every day that I read your posts. I was so close to suicide it was insane but oneday I found your site by accident n just knowing I am not alone in this saved my life . You actually saved my life. I thought here is someone who actually gets it and has empathy n a kind heart n great communication n listening skills. Now I read your posts all the time n although I am in Australia n you are on the other side of the world , your warm heart n care for people has definitely saved me for sure. Now I look after my four yr old son, attend a psych fortnightly n have the strength to make it. Before your Facebook site , I was always 12 hrs away from disappearing from this earth. You literally saved my life n u should be proud that you are an incredible woman who is strong n compassionate n someone who actually gets it totally. Your work has saved a lot of people I would guess. It definitely gave me the inspiration n the confidence n energy to continue on. You are a life saver. You shld be very proud n god bless such a beautiful caring story . You are welcome to share my message cause your info has helped n saved me, it will continue to save many others . Great people like u remind me that a bright future is always available when someone with PTSD has someone to talk n listen to. Thankyou for your help. My 4 yr old son would thank you as well for keeping his daddy going with hope n a feeling that I am not alone in all this. Kind regards, Brett”

A Spouse’s Story PTSD

Category: Special Notes from Special People, Uncategorized  Tags: , ,  Comments off

“Why are they lying?” A misconception!

I do ask that you read this completely, and I know it’s long but extremely important. There is absolutely no disrespect towards anyone here… in other words you are NOT going to find me throwing anyone under the bus on this one.  I honestly believe and have proven in our personal situation, that there is a root to everything, you just have to find what it is. I have been asked to write about this, and I will be honest, we have been there, but many will be shocked at what I discovered and the outcome! I am adding links to older postings of mine within this for you to view after reading, to help shorten this but still give additional information.

Why are they lying?

Right or wrong in actions and/or words… This is one of the most heart-wrenching, mind boggling, relationship breakers I personally think there can be over many other things that can come with PTSD.

A person’s word, honesty, is one of the greatest positive characters of a human being. It is the basis of who they are and basis of forming relationships, friends, or co-worker relations. Trust drives the human race. But what happens when trust is tampered with? What happens when you discover you have been lied to? The one thing about a person’s word is, sooner or later the truth will ALWAYS come to light. It might be today or it might be 30 years from now, but the truth, rather great or small, has a way of coming to the surface.

The things I hear the most are:

Why would he/she say that? It’s not true!
Why would they lie about something so small?
Why didn’t they just tell me the truth?
Why are they blaming me when it’s something they did?
Do they know how much their lies have hurt me?
There is no situation large enough for him/her to feel they need to lie to me!

Okay, that’s a short list, but you get my point.

The first question you need to ask yourself is, “Was this person known for not telling the truth before a mental condition?” It’s really a fair question. Some people for some reason do lie, it’s a part of their personality and character. And I am sure with a lot of help those that are this way can get past the “need” they feel to not be truthful.

But if the person at hand did not fit into the being known for telling lies category, then why are they telling lies now? Have you stopped to think about that or are you focused on what was said or what has hurt you? It’s a fair question.

I know the first thing I am going to hear on this is, “A lie is a lie, period.” You are right. A lie is a lie, however you have a little more at hand here then the normal. Have you stopped to view those not so normal things going on? This is not an excuse by any means, but what is the reason? Lies do have to stop! But getting to the root of what is causing these things have to be found in order to stop them.

See, majority of things that can come from PTSD or other mental conditions, can be worked on, things can get better, and those hurtful things you can majority of the time get past if you choose to… but you have to find the root of what is causing them.

So what are the roots when PTSD is at hand? We all know what PTSD causes, how it makes a person feel or not feel, and we know the symptoms. Not being truthful with someone does have to stop or a lot of damage can come from it.

* Memory 

This is one of the largest causes of so called lying with PTSD. Memory issues are very serious, when one can not recall details, stories, what happened or did not happen, to put it bluntly it’s embarrassing and can make one feel stupid. Imagine being in the middle of a sentence and BAM! You don’t know what comes next! The natural defense to this is what I call “filling in the blanks”. They place in what to them makes sense would be there. Sadly, what gets filled in may not be what actually happened or the way things actually were. And now it’s viewed as a lie.

MANY arguments start due to memory issues. You know the truth and the other person’s perspective is altered which leads to a fight. Which many times then leads to PTSD’s fight or flight. See, a person that is having memory/cognitive difficulties will honestly fight to their death they are right, they are not lying to you. Why? Because they honestly do not know when they are wrong, they do not remember! So they honestly do not know they are lying! Their brain is simply and honestly filling in the blanks, and many times they are probably not even aware of it.

This is where a lot of your problems can stem from. The “why did you hide or take my stuff?”, “I didn’t do that!”, “I never said that”, “You are crazy! That never happened!”, “You never told me about that!”, “Why would you accuse me of that? I didn’t do or say that!” How about trouble at work, at home, with friends, with family or the community? If you have heard or experienced things like these, you can almost bet there is a memory issue of some form at hand. Anxiety is linked to memory difficulties with PTSD.

Here is an older posting of mine regarding memory issues and things that we found can help:

“PTSD vs Memory”

*Dissociative Symptoms

This is a whole new ballgame within itself. These symptoms can come with PTSD and a VERY basic definition to this, it is a way of the brain protecting itself. One will not recall anything that takes place when these symptoms are present, therefore like with memory issues will fight to their death, so to speak, “that did not happen” or “I did not do that”. Dissociation does not happen all of the time and majority of the time takes place during highly stressful situations.

Here is a link to more information I have wrote about:

“PTSD and Dissociation”

* Guilt 

Guilt can weigh heavily on one with PTSD. However, when this happens majority of the time the not so truthful things being told are known by the person, but guilt outweighs the truth. I’ll be honest, this is a hard one to cope with for that person. They feel they let someone down or should have done something differently, the stories may be exaggerated, and those twists in stories may become to them viewed as the truth. Avoidance is a huge part of PTSD in the first place and them viewing the truth of a situation can be difficult, to the point it turns into what is viewed as lies.

It does go back to the truth will always surface, so facing it up front and being honest is the best thing whether you view it as such or not at this moment. This is when a lot of honest, sit down talking can sure get things back on a positive moving forward as well as getting help for the way one feels. Guilt and survivor’s guilt can be deadly way beyond just lies, please don’t let it get to that point. Reach for help.

* Numbness/Relationships

I know no one is going to let me slide without bringing this one up. Relationships and lies. Surfing for others or actual cheating. It did not seem like a big deal but now it’s known and consequences, hurt, and unbalance to a relationship are present. It’s that trying to find or feel normal in all of the wrong places, and it happens more than one could bear to imagine.

There are many things you can do within your relationship to help prevent this or from it happening again. Those other people are not going to fill the void that one feels (and that’s for either person, PTSD or non-PTSD, this one is NOT one sided). Finding a balance, help with PTSD and GOOD coping skills, communication, and being honest within your own relationship are great tools for helping with the numbness that comes and finding what you use to feel within your relationship. No matter what “high” that other person may give you at that moment, that high is going to wear off and reality of what has happened set in.

Be careful not to let what PTSD can bring (to either of you) misguide you from what is truly meaningful to you, your partner. The lies formed from outside relations OR communication can destroy your true relationship with the one you love. PTSD does come with numbness and lack of being able to have or feel emotions, that can change with effort and time, “motions lead to emotions”… don’t let lies destroy your relationship.

An extra link regarding relationships:

“PTSD: The Flat-line in Relationships”

These are just a few examples of many. Lies hurt, whether they are intended lies or ones that are unknowingly told. As I said, PTSD comes with many things that are out of the normal, there are many things to think about before just jumping to the “you lied to me”. Sometimes one may honestly be at fault, but honestly you have to get to the root of the why, in order to know the truth of a problem.

Many things that come with PTSD causes the brain to function in different ways, causing what appears on the surface to be a lie when in reality it’s not a lie to the other person, it’s what their brain has placed there whether as a defense, as a way to survive, or simply there is a memory issue of some form at hand. There are many things that can be tried or put into place to prevent the untrue from happening, good honest communication can form, and you can move forward. But the first thing you must do is accept that you are not in a normal situation and things do need to be viewed as such. Find the root to the why, it will help you move forward in a positive way.

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD : Website

A Spouse’s Story PTSD : FaceBook page

PTSD and Video Games

PTSD and Video Games

This is a topic that comes up many times! Sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a bad way.

Let’s go ahead and get the what is considered “bad” out of the way.  See, video games can be addicting… There are a lot of positive things that can come from playing games, however you have to make sure you don’t get stuck only playing games. They can cause your life to just pass you by and you miss out on the important things in your life and/or cause others to have negative feelings towards you. As well as playing too much prevents you from finding ways to step forward and cope in other ways.

Okay, let’s not dwell on the bad part though. What about how video games can help?

I am hearing from more and more people, stating that their doctor told them to play certain video games! See games can help with cognitive functioning, the memory, the fine motor skills, there are actually a lot of benefits that can come from them.

They can also help when one needs that “escape” from PTSD symptoms such as stress, anger, or overwhelming situations. It’s a way to “get things out” without it coming out on others, a form of release. If you are one that uses them in this way however, take caution to your time spent on them. It’s okay at times or for short time periods in order to avoid other things, but don’t allow them to consume you to the point they make matters or avoidance worse then what the situation may already be. In other words, use them as a positive tool but don’t allow them to run your life! You have a real life waiting for you to experience. 

Tips for video games:

* Play games that do help in a positive way with cognitive functioning and fine motor skills.

* Ask your doctor which games could be a benefit to your situation and symptoms.

* Avoid games that could be triggers or cause you to become angry towards others.

* Set a timer! Have a certain amount of time you play then force yourself to step away. Or only play when you are in need of a different type of coping skill.

* And write down (sticky notes are great!) what time you start and what time you will step away from a game. AND follow through on it.

* Remember you still have a real LIFE to live away from that game  Don’t allow games to consume you.

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD